Is your team losing more than it should? It may be time for your team leaders to speak up, for often the poor performance you are experiencing is a symptom of the best voices being too quiet.
Years ago I had the pleasure of working at the Point Guard College with Dena Evans, who does a terrific job of educating athletes with information that Coach Dick Divenzio, the author of Stuff! Good Players Should Know, shared with her.
One of the many nuggets of wisdom I gained from that week of camp, which included basketball drills and skill work in addition to video and relevant classroom sessions, was that leading by example only is poor leadership.
The truth is that a quiet gym is almost always a losing gym!
Obviously sometimes losing is just the result of playing against competition that has a much greater level of talent. But more often, your team success or failure is the result of how loud and passionate your team leaders are willing to be.
A team that has comparable talent to its competition may underperform for one of these two reasons:
- The entire team is too quiet, and there is little to no verbal leadership at all, or…
- The wrong voices are the loudest ones, and the team is suffering because the people who should speak up have chosen to remain too quiet.
If the entire team is refusing to speak up, that silence may be evidence of something more significant, such as players lacking a personal investment in team success or lacking belief that their voice can truly influence others.
But if your leaders are standing quiet and not confronting negative comments from their peers, there may be a lack of support or clear expectations from the coach or authority figure that they look to for
For both of these scenarios, your team members would benefit from teambuilding and leadership training activities that provide them with the opportunity to lead and work together through challenges that mirror the adversities they will face later. Great leaders will speak up in trying situations instead of remaining silent.
One of the best examples of the dangers of silence is found in the Book of Genesis.
You are certainly familiar with the story of Adam and Eve, and the fall of man being identified with Eve choosing to eat the forbidden fruit. Most every one thinks of this when they read the first part of Genesis 3:6: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it…”
What many neglect to acknowledge is that she was not there making a poor decision alone.
The final part of Genesis 3:6 reads: “…She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” So why is that last portion so very significant?
This passage is significant because Adam, like athletes or teammates in most any field, chose to stand by and remain quiet when he likely was very much aware that his partner was doing something that was detrimental to their shared experience an happiness together.
Adam lost the perfect grandeur of Eden because he was quiet when he should have chosen to speak up. Is this happening on your team? What goal or destination that your team is pursuing will you allow to be lost because you are not willing to speak up?
Is there someone on your team doing (or not doing) something that needs to be addressed?
The likelihood is that, on most every team, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for any teammate to become a team leader by sharing reminders and encouragements.
This is not a suggestion that you should criticize or complain about what teammates have already done – you cannot go back and change that…
But you are completely capable of influencing future behaviors and decisions if you choose to speak up and remind people of what expectations are and encourage them to do what they know is right.
Being a great team leader is more than about leading by example. A Great team leader is willing to speak up and clearly define expectations and be unpopular in the short run in return for enjoying more success and respect in the long run.
And even more importantly than being a strong and positive voice of team leadership, your teammates may need someone to be bold and confident and care enough to be the first to start talking.
Sometime all it takes for other people to add their voice to a song is for someone else to have the courage to break the silence and start singing. When they see that you care enough to speak up as a team leader, it gives them permission to do the same.
If your organization or team is currently struggling with leadership or communication skills, I encourage you to consider the benefits of a teamwork speaker or teambuilding event. Sometimes all it takes is a little team motivation to help your people grow to where they feel ready to lead from where they are.